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Lesson: Seven Conditions To Answered Prayer

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The prayers of most people lack real power and effectiveness for a very simple reason. They really don't know how to pray! The Bible reveals seven basic conditions which you should fulfill to be certain of answered prayers. Letís notice what they are.

(1) Know God's Will.

1. Does the apostle James show that the children of this world-fighting and warring as they do-failed to receive help because they often neglected to ask for God's help? James 4:1Ė2. And when they do ask, is it only for their own selfish ends? Verse 3.

Comment: To ask God for something for purely selfish reasons is to ask amiss.

2. To get answers to your prayers, what example did Jesus set that we should follow? John 5:30, last part. Are we to understand the will of God? Ephesians 5:17. How can we get to know God's will? 2 Timothy 2:15.

Comment: By studying God's will, which is revealed in the Bible, you will begin to think more as God thinks.

3. If we pray according to God's will, can we know that God will answer our prayers? 1 John 5:14-15.

Comment: Asking according to God's will is the overall fundamental condition to answered prayer.

(2) Believe God

Most people do not realize that a lack of faith is simply a disbelief that God will keep his promises or backup his word.

1. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 and 6. Is faith an absolute prerequisite to receiving answers to our prayers? James 1:5-7.

Comment: A man who wavers will not receive an answer to his prayers. "For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." verse seven.

2. If we doubt any of God's many promises to do certain things for us, are we actually making a liar out of God? 1 John 5:10.

Comment: Real faith is not an emotional feeling that you generate by thinking certain thoughts over and over. You don't talk yourself into, or think yourself into real, believing faith. Godly faith is simply your willingness-through the help of God's Holy Spirit-to quietly and patiently trust God to perform His word.

3. What did the apostle Paul say about Abraham and the faith he had in God? Romans 4:20-21.

Comment: Abraham relied completely on God to perform His promises. Do you? Is faith one of the fruits of God's Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22.

4. Are we also told that faith alone-without any works, or actions, on our part-is worthless-"dead?" James 2:20.

Comment: To have answered prayers, you must have faith. But you must also act on that faith by obeying God! Your faith must be active, living faith!

(3) Obey God

An important condition of answered prayer is that one which is neglected and violated consistently by most professing Christians. People must look to God as the authority in their lives and not make a god out of this worldís society, customs, traditions or religious practices.

1. Does it really make a difference who or what we serve and obey? Romans 6:16.

Comment: If you obey the ways of sin practiced in this world, you are putting this society and its pagan customs and holidays in place of the true God! God requires obedience!

2. What does God label a person who says he knows God, and yet does not keep His commandments? 1 John 2:4.

Comment: If you haven't learned to fear the true God and accept his word as the authority in your life, then you don't really know God!

3. Can those who persistently refuse to keep God's Commandments really expect Him to answer their prayers? 1 Peter 3:12. What is sin? 1 John 3:4. Does sin cut you off from God? Isaiah 59:1-2.

Comment: Here is one of the major reasons why so many prayers are not answered. God will not listen to a person who disobeys Him and lives in sin!

4. Does God promise to hear the prayers of one who turns to God in heartfelt repentance and obedience? John 9:31 and Daniel 10:12.

Comment: First, there must be repentance! Sin must be put away. Are you daily repenting of sin, and putting it out of your life? Have you really surrendered your life to God in keeping His Commandments, Sabbaths and Holy Days (Exodus 20, Mark 2:27-28, Leviticus 23)?

5. Can true Christians have a special confidence that God will answer their prayers if they are obedient? 1 John 3:22. What does God require? Deuteronomy 10:12-13.

(4) Fear and Humility

Modern man thinks he can get along without God. He neither fears God nor respects God's word as the authority in his life. Is it any wonder that God fails to answer the prayers of such men?

1. What is the first prerequisite to the knowledge of God? Psalms 111:10 and 112:1.

Comment: We need to fear God, realizing that our lives are in his hands. We must be humble, realizing that the life God gave us is but a vapor (James 4:14). Carnal man needs to realize that he is only dust and shall return to dust unless and until he receives the Spirit of God, which is the begettal of eternal life. Eternal life is a gift from God. (Romans 6:23), not something we already have. We should also realize that any talents we may have are ours because God gave them to us!

2. When Christ was a fleshly, mortal man, did he fear God? Hebrews 5:7.

Comment: When we fully realize our own utter helplessness and complete dependence upon God, then we will cry out to God as Jesus did. 

3. What did Peter say we should be clothed with? 1 Peter 5:5-6. Did the self-righteous Pharisee of Luke 18:10-12 pray with humility? How did the publican pray? Verse 13. Who was heard of God? Verse 14.

Comment: The Phariseesí prayer did not ascend to God. He was merely praying "to himself." God will not hear haughty, proud, self-righteous prayers! God does not answer if you pray in a conceited, proud, "holier than thou" attitude! We must enter God's presence with an attitude of humility! God heard the prayer of the publican who would not even so much as lift his eyes to heaven, but the prayer of the strutting Pharisee went unheeded. The attitude of humility and godly fear is vital in prayer.

(5) Be ferventI

t is common today for parents to teach their children memorized prayers. The father often mumbles a hurried, routine prayer of thanks at the dinner table. The ministers recite from memory an eloquent prayer, which sounds very impressive. But is God impressed? The "fruits" show that God rarely hears such prayers, for they are usually not answered.

1. Does God reveal his attitude toward such prayers? Hosea 7:13-14.

Comment: Notice the rendering of those verses in the Moffatt translation: "though it was I who redeemed them, they have lied to me; they never put their heart into their prayers." They didnít "cry out" to God with their whole being as the ancient prophets did-and as Christ did when he prayed.

2. How fervent was Jesus in His prayers? Hebrews 5:7.

Comment: When Jesus Christ prayed to the Father, He meant it! He did not approach God merely to "pass the time." His prayers had deep meaning and He was deeply moved on many occasions when he communed with God.

3. How fervently and earnestly did Jesus pray on the evening before his crucifixion? Luke 22:44.

Comment: Jesus needed strength from God for the coming ordeal. He needed to really get close to God. He knelt down and began to pray that God's will, not his own, would be done. Christ prayed fervently and earnestly to the point of sweating blood! Are your prayers meaningful-to you? If not, then how do you expect them to be moving to God?

4. What are some examples of Davidís heartfelt, sincere prayers to God? Psalms 4:1 and 6:2-4. Was David often moved to tears when he cried to God in fervent prayer? Verse six.

Comment: God is deeply moved by such earnest, sincere, heartfelt prayer!

5. What does God say to those who have never prayed this way? Joel 2:12-13.

Comment: In James 5:16, we read, "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." We have to pray fervently, earnestly, zealously, if we expect God to hear and answer.

(6) Be Persistent

Some people, if God doesn't answer their prayers right away, begin to lose faith and give up praying. They forget that, although God promises to answer when we ask according to His will, He nowhere promises to answer right away! God does not tell us exactly how or precisely when the answer will come.

1. Is this why Jesus gave the parable of the importunate widow? Luke 18:1.

Comment: Jesus gave this parable to show that even an unrighteous judge would finally hear the pleas of the widow who kept coming to him. So we should keep praying to God, even though He sometimes doesn't answer right away.

2. Is God building patient faith into our character if we have to wait on Him to answer a prayer? James 1:3-4.

Comment: Waiting on God in patient faith, seems to be one of the hardest things for humans to do! How many of us are willing to be persistent in prayer, until God answers? If God doesn't answer your prayers immediately, exercise patience and keep praying until he does answer. But don't nag God! So occasionally remind God about your particular problems or afflictions. Don't cease praying about them. God is bound to perform his part in his own time. He always keeps His promises.

(7) Use Christ's Name

The seventh condition of answered prayer is the correct use of Christ's name. This is a greatly misunderstood subject, and the use of Christ's name is often abused..

1. After Jesus had been with His disciples for over three years, and taught them God's will, and how to obey it, what did He instruct them concerning the use of his name in their prayers? John 16:23-24.

Comment: These verses give us the privilege of employing Christ's name-asking by His authority-when we pray to God the Father. But most people misunderstand how we can ask "in Jesusí name."

When our government sends an ambassador to another country, he is given authority to carry out certain business in the name of the United States government. He can act in the name of our government because it has conferred on him the authority as its chosen representative to carry on certain business on its behalf. But his authority is limited to do only what the government has specifically authorized him. If he exceeds his delegated authority, his actions are null and void, and will not be backed up by his government.

All of God's children can rightfully ask the Father for things "in Jesus' name" when they know it is His will and that His authority stands behind it. But just rattling off words "in Jesusí name" in a prayer that is contrary to God's will, is of no avail!

2 Do those who abide in Christ have the privilege of praying in Christís name? John 15:7. How does one abide in Christ? Romans 8:9. Does God give His Holy Spirit only to them that obey him? Acts 5:32.

Comment: To pray "in Jesus' name," you must be yielding to Godís will to the best of your knowledge.

3. Does praying "in Jesus' name," which means by His authority, also mean that you are praying through Him as your High Priest? Hebrews 4:14-16.

Comment: Praying in Jesus' name is a great privilege. Use Jesus' name correctly, and your prayers will be answered because of the authority conferred through Christ!

Results Will Follow

If you faithfully conform to the seven conditions of answered prayer with God's help, you may then have absolute confidence that God will hear and answer your prayers. You'll be changing and growing closer to God each day. You will be actively seeking and doing His will.